Category: Slasher and Serial Killer Movies


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In the age of torture porn, extreme gore, and fresh off the assembly line horror, it’s easy to become desensitized to the violence and brutality of horror movies. With the exception of the best modern horror (The Descent, Let the Right One In, American Psycho), audiences come in expecting personality-free, nubile youth to be murdered in increasingly “clever” and fresh ways to sate some primal blood lust. And while I love the original Scream as much as any body who grew up in the 90s, there’s something ethically repugnant about taking pleasure in the suffering of others, even if said others are obnoxious, fictional constructs. Austrian director Michael Haneke (Amour) shares those misgivings, and his 1997 psychological anti-horror masterpiece, Funny Games, is a scathing middle finger at anyone who thinks abuse can pass for entertainment.

With all of the dangers of Poe’s Law in full effect, Funny Games is satire played brutally, viscerally straight. When it made its premiere at Cannes, many critics mistook Haneke’s intentions and thought Funny Games was a vile, reprehensible extension of the increasingly raw horror films of the 90s. And it was all those things, but that was intentional. Funny Games is nothing short of Michael Haneke’s attempts to play the soul-crushing terror, violence, and cruelty of modern horror without any of the titillating entertainment/escapism/power fantasy that often seeps into the genre. And while the film may be unwatchable to many, that was what Haneke wanted and I suspect the way I watch horror from now on will be colored by my experience with this film.

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Anna (Susanna Lothar) and Georg (Ulrich Mühe) are two upper-class Austrian vacationers on holiday with their son, Georg II (Stefan Clapczynski), at their large summer home. Before their world is turned upside down, Anna and Georg’s life is one of luxury and ease, and they entertain themselves by challenging the other to name increasingly obscure classical compositions. But as soon as they arrive at the lake where their summer home resides, things seem subtly off, and their usually friendly neighbors are oddly distant. But the real horror doesn’t arrive until Paul (Arno Frisch) and Peter (Frank Giering) show up on their doorstep.

Pretending to be friends of their neighbors (who they’ve already killed), Paul and Peter are grade-A psychopaths quite unlike anything you’ve ever seen in the cinema before. Although they attempt to appear to be nothing more than slightly rude  youths at first, it doesn’t take long for Paul and Peter to reveal their true colors by murdering the family dog and breaking Georg’s leg with a golf club. And from there on, Paul and Peter submit the family to a series of increasingly cruel mind games, centered around a bet that the family won’t leave til 9 AM the next day. And, needless to say, the deck is stacked against Anna and Georg.

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Funny Games utilizes a modernist disrespect for the fourth wall to help hammer in its points. On several different occasions, Paul turns directly towards the camera and addresses the viewer. He talks to the viewer like they’re a typical horror fan and they’re there to relish in the carnage that’s about to occur (which mostly happens off-screen which enhances the horror because you can’t even get off on the gorn of it all). If Paul’s little asides don’t make you feel like a prick, you’ll never understand what makes this film special. And when the movie has one moment where it seems maybe things may go the heroes’ way, well… let’s just say that Haneke isn’t afraid to remind viewers that this is a movie that he has control over.

And that leads into the most important part of Funny Games and what makes it such a powerful and important film. Funny Games is horror without any of the catharsis that comes with horror as entertainment. In most horror, the majority of the cast will die, but at least one person will live. That figure becomes the audience surrogate. For fear of spoiling the film, you don’t get that release in Funny Games. Some films (even the best like American Psycho) will turn the supreme violence into comedy. There are occasional moments of pitch-black comedy in Funny Games, but it is mostly “hands over your mouth” brutality. Some horror films allow you to get off on the violence by making the ones being killed insufferable pricks. Anna and her family may be minimally characterized, but you’re given no reason to dislike them. And you feel every stab of dread and pain that shoots into their lives.

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Funny Games should have been the last word on home invasion horror films. But the litany of Scream sequels, The Strangers, and the two The Purge films show that Hollywood has failed to grasp this film’s message (that said, I actually think The Strangers is a surprisingly scary horror film). Haneke himself seems to have forgotten the point he made with the original Funny Games considering he would do a shot-for-shot remake 10 years later with American actors. If you make a film that is a harrowing condemnation of the kind of person who would watch this movie in the first place, why would you remake it and invite those who sat through the first one to see that same horrifying tale again? It comes off as vaguely hypocritical.

Funny Games isn’t easy to sit through. It’s as intentionally transgressive and challenging a film as I’ve watched for this blog, and it would have fit right in with the films of the French New Extremity of the early 2000s if they’d been half as philosophically challenging as Haneke’s masterwork. I feel comfortable calling Funny Games the best straight horror film I’ve ever seen (particularly if one counts American Psycho as more cultural satire than horror). But many of you will sit down and be either utterly disgusted by it (which you should) but not understand why, or you’ll find it to be an utter bore. For those that can appreciate the subtext and criticism Haneke lays out, you’re in for one of the most powerfully disturbing films of the 1990s.

Final Score: A+

 

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Although horror generally doesn’t fall under the purview of films that I attempt to review for this blog (which is a thousands films long list of award-nominated movies), I make a special attempt to sneak them in here when I get the chance. Ever since I was a child, horror has been a guilty pleasure of mine, and the nights I wasn’t able to sleep in elementary school after my parents mistakenly let me watch A Nightmare on Elm Street still stick with me nearly 20 years later. And, over this blog’s two and a half year lifetime, I’ve often mused about what was the greatest horror film ever made. I’ve reviewed classics like The Shining, The Exorcist, and Poltergeist, as well as modern greats like Let the Right One In and Paranormal Activity. But after much thought and debate, I think my heart belongs to 2000’s American Psycho.

Perhaps it’s unfair to even discuss American Psycho in rankings of the great horror films because under any real inspection, American Psycho is a horror movie in only the most superficial and surface ways. Because despite the buckets of blood, slasher film tropes, and skin-crawlingly creepy performance from Christian Bale, American Psycho is as much a pitch-black comedy and satire of the greed, narcissism, and general misogyny of the 1980s as it is a retread of the familiar serial killer tale. In fact, were the film meant as a straight horror, it would be mediocre at best because it’s not scary in the slightest, but as a brutal evisceration of the dark underbelly of the Reagan years and Wall Street avarice, American Psycho turns itself into a horrific, dark mirror of the worst sides of American life.

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Patrick Bateman (The Dark Knight Rises‘s Christian Bale) is the embodiment of the 1980s American dream. He’s a young successful Wall Street executive on the rise. He has a perfect body, perfect skin, and the perfect NYC high rise apartment. He has a gorgeous girlfriend, Evelyn (Reese Witherspoon), a willing mistress (Samantha Mathis), and absurdly rich friends whose biggest problems in life seem to be whether or not they can get a reservation at the swankiest New York City restaurants and passive aggressively loathing one another over who has the best business card.

But, beneath his perfect exterior, Patrick hides a dark, dark secret. He is a serial killer and an absolutely unhinged one at that. Taking great pride in beating and mutilating prostitutes and the homeless, Patrick unleashes his misogynistic, anti-woman hatred out whenever he can. And when professional jealousy towards one of his colleagues (Jared Leto) ends in a Huey Lewis & the News preceded murder, Patrick finds himself tailed by detective Donald Kimball (Faraway, So Close!‘s Willem Dafoe) who is investigating the man’s disappearance. Will Patrick be able to keep his dark nature in check or will he explode in an orgiastic bloodlust of violence and mayhem?

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Christian Bale has become one of the most consistently intriguing and promising stars of his generation, and alongside the much earlier Empire of the Sun, this was one of the films that put Bale on the map. Alongside his role in The Fighter, I still believe that American Psycho is the premier performance of Bale’s career. Some might be put of by just how bizarre his characterization of Patrick Bateman becomes. This odd combination of yuppie misogyny, misanthropy, and vanity alongside a terrifying milieu of true psychotic behavior seems outrageous at first, but it’s this same horrific otherworld-ness that comes to define how fantastic Bale is at playing men on the fringe of sanity.

Mary Harron’s direction places American Psycho right alongside Wall Street and Bonfire of the Vanities (the book, not the god-awful film) as one of the most accurate satirical looks at the Reagan years. With long, lingering shots of suits, business cards, lavish parties, fancy restaurants, and even fancier apartments, American Psycho has the attention to detail of a Merchant/Ivory film or Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, but within that framework, the film never fails to remind you of the hollowness of these characters’ existence.

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Because American Psycho is a pitch-black comedy/satire, you would be forgiven for thinking that its humor wouldn’t be of the “laugh-out-loud” variety. But it most certainly is. There’s a moment late in the film where Patrick discusses eating the brains of some his victims; I’m not sure if it’s meant to be as funny as I found it, but at that moment, I found myself laughing absolutely hysterically. I was on the verge of tears. And the film is full of little moments of subtle humor that are played just right to elicit big laughs. An ATM machine tells Patrick to feed it stray cats, the insanely narcissistic poses he makes having sex to Phil Collins’ “Sussudio.” The list goes on.

I watched this several nights ago and have been writing the review off and on for a couple days now. Work has kept me from finding the time to actually finish it so I’ll draw this review to a close. I haven’t given this score out in a while. In fact, it’s been three months since I reviewed my last “A+” film, The Master. But American Psycho totally deserves this honor. I am unable to come up with a single flaw to this film, and having watched it dozens of times at this point in my life, it keeps getting better and better. If you want to watch what I believe is the greatest horror film of all time and arguably one of the best satires of the last twenty years, American Psycho is it.

Final Score: A+

 

As a life-long native of West Virginia (not counting the summer I lived in Italy and the four months at the beginning of this year that I lived in New York City), I am always wary of fictional portrayal of my home state. We’re either portrayed as the dirt-poor bumpkins we used to be (Matewan and October Sky) or we’re made out to be psychopathic in-bred killers (Wrong Turn et al). The only film I can name where taking place in West Virginia was just a random, not important part of the setting was the under-rated Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. The low-budget indie horror comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, with it’s West Virginia setting and hillbilly protagonists, had the potential to be another West Virginia set film to offend all of us mountain children, but with its consistently hilarious tongue-in-cheek sensibilities and inversion of the college kids vs. evil redneck stereotypes, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil was instead a B-Movie blast.

Simple but lovable rednecks Dale (Invasion‘s Scott Labine) and Tucker (Firefly‘s Alan Tudyk) head up to their isolated vacation home in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. Camping not far from their site is a group of obnoxious college kids, including the sweet and innocent Alison (30 Rock‘s Katrina Bowden). The big-boned and big-hearted Dale takes a fancy to Alison but his backwards demeanor and country look scare the college kids. When Alison falls and hits her head on a rock while swimming, she’s rescued by Tucker and Dale, but the college kids think they’re in a horror movie and that Tucker and Dale are going to kidnap and murder their friend. As the college kids try to “rescue” their friend, Tucker and Dale’s lives take a turn for the complicated as the kids rescue attempts end with death and destruction and every one becomes certain that Tucker and Dale are psychopathic killers.

Fans of Firefly and Serenity (or even his scene-stealing bit as “Pirate Steve” in Dodgeball) don’t need anyone else to tell them that Alan Tudyk is a terribly under-appreciated comic actor. He plays the redneck Tucker perfectly straight, but he still manages to get most of the biggest laughs in the film. Combine his deadpan and dead serious delivery with the gut-bustingly funny things he has to say, and you have the recipe for a great performance, and Alan Tudyk delivers. Tyler Labine was consistently the second best part of Invasion (behind the commanding William Fichtner) and he turns a stock horror stereotype like Dale into a loveable and very endearing lead. Katrina Bowden is one of the most gorgeous women working in television today, but I’m not sure if her comedic chops are up to keeping up with Labine and Tudyk, and the other college kids were either forgettable or outright bad actors.

The humor in the film comes from constantly flipping traditional horror storytelling devices on their head and playing with perspective in a way similar to Atonement (although obviously not as well done or artistic as that film). While the college kids are your stereotypical horror protagonists, Tucker and Dale break the mold in almost every way imaginable. Their just real, actual rednecks that I would know and go to high school with. They drink too much beer. They go fishing. They wear really unfortunate clothes, and they’d give the shirt off their back to strangers in need. And as they try to help Alison throughout the film, it is their appearance and a lack of complete information that drives the crazy college kids to think Tucker and Dale are killers. Which leads to hilarious moments like Tucker trying to explain to a cop why a college kid would just jump into a wood chipper.

The film succeeds when it goes for a winning brand of stupid but still funny sophomoric humor and genre satire. But when, by the end of the film, it tries to play the horror even just a little bit straight, it begins to feel like the terrible B-movies that it’s making fun of. The twist at the end seems especially unnecessary but the film is a loving homage to terrible B-films so perhaps it felt the need to throw in those types of ridiculous plot twists. But when the film is running all cylinders, it can be an almost endless set up of visual gags and gross-out humor. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil does not shy away from the gore that is part and parcel of the horror series, and few films have made carnage so hilarious.

It’s not a perfect movie, and if you’re one of those types that can’t enjoy films that are so dumb they’re brilliant (i.e. Idiocracy, early Adam Sandler, the first Dumb & Dumber), you probably won’t understand why I thought this movie was so hilarious. Still, tonight’s Halloween (although I watched the movie at like 1 AM this morning), and is there a better way to celebrate the holiday than a good horror film? Plus, I’m going to be watching Rocky Horror Picture Show as well before I go to bed. So, there will be a review for what I still think is one of the best B-movies ever made. My last work on Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is that for fans of horror and for fans of witty satires, this film will provide a lot of laughs.

Final Score: B

As an avid reader that is an equally avid cinephile, it is not uncommon for me to watch movie adaptations of books I simply adore. While I’m not one of those literary snobs who can’t get past differences between books and movies (thankfully because I understand the different needs of the two genres), there are still times when I’m incredibly disappointed with one director’s interpretation of a beloved work (I can count on one hand the number of movies that I actually prefer to the book: Lord of the Rings, The Road, The Mist, and The Shawshank Redemption). Stephen King’s novels are especially prone to terrible adaptations (Thinner, Needful Things, Pet Sematary) as his in-depth characterization is often ignored solely for the horror element even though the neuroses and psychological flaws of his heroes is often more important to his actual texts. The original 1980 film version of The Shining (as opposed to the made for TV movie from the 90’s with Stephen Weber and Rebecca De Mornay) is the rare film adaptation that completely eschews all but the barest semblance to the source material but still manages to maintain an intriguing and ambitious artistic voice. I may prefer Stephen King’s original novel, but there is no denying the artistic tour-de-force that is Stanley Kubrick’s bold re-imagining of the original text.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is a former schoolteacher and a recovering alcoholic. Currently unemployed (for vague reasons not clearly stated in the movie) and hoping to write a novel, Jack takes a job at the scenic Overlook Hotel in Colorado as the winter caretaker. Along for the ride are his meek wife Wendy (Shelley DuVall) and his psychic son Danny. As explained by the cook Dick Halloran (Scatman Crothers) before the rest of the staff leaves for winter, Danny has what is known as “the shining,” a psychic ability to hold mental conversations with other psychics as well as some slight precognition. As winter marches forward, Jack slowly starts to succumb to cabin fever, and minor aggravations with his family begin to mutate into psychopathic, murderous rage as the supernatural elements of the Hotel begin to work their voodoo into Jack.

Just as a heads up, this is going to be a fairly meaty review because the things I like about this film (Jack Nicholson’s performance, Kubrick’s direction, the stellar camerawork, the musical score) are just as noticeable as they things I loathe (the shallow characterization, Shelley Duvall, poorly paced plotting). First and foremost, it’s hard to say who sells this film more: Kubrick’s cinematic wizardry or Jack Nicholson’s bravado performance. Every single second that Jack Nicholson is on screen you have this inescapable sense of dread and foreboding. He is a man who has made a career off of frenetic energy and startling intensity, but Jack Nicholson has potentially never been more intense than he has in this film. While I really do not enjoy this particular characterization of Jack Torrance, that is the screenplay’s fault and not Jack Nicholson who consistently takes Torrance’s crazy factorto new and new heights. This is the psycho performance to top all psycho performances.

I am not always a huge Stanley Kubrick fan. I adore A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, and (the first half of) Full Metal Jacket, but by that same token, I think 2001: A Space Odyssey is among the most over-rated films of all time and that last half of Full Metal Jacket is a mess (and don’t get me started on Eyes Wide Shut). However, during this particular viewing of The Shining (the first time I had watched it since high school), I was stunned by all of the little touches either in set direction, lighting, coloring, and general composition of shots. All of the long, abandoned corridors helped to contribute to the sense of isolation and dread and the recurring technique of framing a shot through a doorway was very interesting. During scenes where Jack was starting to lose his grip on sanity, there would be a very subtle but noticeable “heartbeat” effect in the color of the scene and it helped add to the disorientation. This was one of the pioneering films in the use of a “steadicam” for the tricycle scenes. At times, you could notice how the images were warped at the edges to further disturb audiences who could just notice something was not right even if they couldn’t say what it was. All in all, this film was always an absolute treat to look at (even when the story faltered as I’ll get to in a moment).

The film’s most unforgivable flaw is its treatment of Jack Torrance’s character. Jack Torrance remains one of my favorite Stephen King heroes (even though he ends up a bad guy, he is still the main protagonist of the tale alongside his son Danny) because he was a heavily autobiographical creation of King’s own battles with alcoholism and violence. Jack was complex and watching his gradual transformation to madness (and ultimate redemption through his son) was very rewarding and terrifying. Jack seems to already be a deeply troubled person when he gets to the Overlook in the film, and there is very little reason given for his seemingly instantaneous transformation into an ax-murderer. In the book, the Overlook was able to draw on the boiling tensions of this alcoholic who was otherwise a good man and use it to tempt him to the dark side because it fed off of the darkness in his heart. In the film, Jack seems to get one fake bourbon from a ghost who may or may not have been real in the first place and that shoots him off to crazyville. It all just seemed to heavy-handed for my tastes and while subtlety isn’t usually Stephen King’s forte, he is far more subtle about a journey into madness than Kubrick came close to achieving with this film.

This is a horror classic. There is simply no debate there. Stanley Kubrick laid the groundwork for so much of the slasher and serial killer stories to follow in how he crafted this film, and perhaps, if you take this film out of the context of its source material, then it would simply be amazing. However, I would hope that even without King’s original tale, the simple lack of context for much of Jack’s actions in the film and the rushed nature of its climax would leave me a little cold. With the exceptions of A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove though, perhaps that is Kubrick’s thing. He makes gorgeous films  that are perhaps more fun to look at than actually parse for plot and characters. I would never deny that 2001: A Space Odyssey isn’t a stunningly beautiful film, but by that same token, I also think it’s a pretentious and bloated beast that is more fun for stoners than for people who want any deeper meaning. All horror fans should watch The Shining, but then you need to read Stephen King’s book and see how a real horror master does it.

Final Score: A-

Here’s the thing about the horror genre. Due to the fact that 99% of the genre is complete and utter shit, the rest of the genre is immediately taken far less seriously. As original and entertaining as I found the first Saw film (though perhaps original is the wrong word since it was essentially Se7en for the 2000’s), the slew of sequels that are nothing more than torture porn have tarnished the original product. Freddy Krueger’s original scares in A Nightmare on Elm Street are weighed down by its braid-dead predecessors. Modern audiences are so turned on by gore and admittedly creative ways to kill people that they’ve forgotten classic horror was defined as much by its characters and psychological mind games as much as by blood. Probably the only great horror film to come out of the 1990’s was the original Scream (The Sixth Sense and The Silence of the Lambs are more accurately labeled thrillers). With a wickedly sharp wit and the most articulate and memorable main cast in decades, it served as both a vicious satire of the slasher genre as well as a welcome return to legitimate scares. While the two sequels weren’t awful, they notably failed to meet the high bar set by the first film. Wes Craven wisely chose to wait a decade to revitalize the classic franchise, and while Scream 4 isn’t nearly as good as the original film, it’s still a wicked sharp horror movie from one of the genre’s true legends.

Set ten years after the events of the third film, Scream 4 picks up with our heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returning to Woodsboro on the anniversary of the murders from the first film. Now a critically acclaimed self-help author, Sidney has returned to town to promote her wildly successful book. However, Sidney can’t go anywhere without trouble following, and her return to Woodsboro is immediately greeted by a slew of new murders that mimic the style of the original Woodsboro massacres. As Sidney tries to remain the survivor we know and love, Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox), whose career has been put on hold after entering domestic life with her husband, now Sheriff, Dooley Riley (David Arquette), decides these new murders are the perfect opportunity to revitalize her stagnant career. We’re also introduced to a new group of high school students meant to parallel the original cast which includes Jill (Emma Roberts), the niece of Sidney as well as Kirby (Hayden Panatierre), Jill’s horror savvy best friend. As the murders quickly spiral out of control, it becomes readily apparent that anyone could be the murderer and that no one is safe.

The original film set the bar pretty high for classic horror film openers, and while this one doesn’t quite have the shock and/or horror value of the original opener, it gets serious points for being incredibly hilarious and metatextual. Ever since Scream 2 introduced the “film-within-a-film” concept of the Stab series based off of the Woodboro killings, Scream has used those to create meta-jokes about the cliches and tropes of the horror franchise in even more comedic fashion than the first film. I don’t want to ruin anything about the opening of the film because it’s one of the best parts of the whole movie (for better or worse), but needless to say Kevin Williamson’s (the screenwriter for the franchise) trademark dialogue and self-aware nature is taken to its logical and hysterical extreme. I was legitimately laughing my ass off. Every aspect of the horror genre that has come and gone since the last Scream film (in particular the rise of “torture porn” and Japanese horror re-makes) gets viciously skewered. Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell get serious props for achieving so much in such a short period of time.

At it’s core, this film is an attempt to renew the (now) old-school sensibilities of the Scream franchise into the modern horror market, while simultaneously retaining the self-aware and chatty nature that makes the movies so unique. For the most part, in those respects, it’s a success. Modern horror films are far more gruesome and bloody than the original Scream films (which were in turn my introduction to the horror genre and scared the hell out of me when I was younger), and this was easily the bloodiest of all of the Scream films. It was quite gruesome and should satisfy the most gore-hungry in the audience. Simultaneously, the gore doesn’t seem there simply to satisfy that “torture-porn” instinct popular in modern horror films but to try to add legitimate shocks to the scenes, which it doesn’t quite deliver in that respects. The film isn’t scary or suspenseful in the slightest. It’s just ridiculously violent, and in that regard, Wes Craven failed to reach the heights of the original film. However, the film is so damn smart that it almost isn’t a problem.

If I were to judge this movie solely on how thoroughly it deconstructs the notion of a horror reboot or its never ending meta-commentary on the horror genre, it would get an “A”. Alas, the fact that it does try to be a horror film (rather than say the horror satire of Shaun of the Dead), it’s lack of being scary costs it considerably. If you thought the original cast was a group of chatty teenagers who had spent way too much time watching horror films, you haven’t seen anything yet. It almost seems as if the entire point of the high school characters this time around (as compared to the returning characters) is to just serve as a graduate level seminar in modern horror theory and history. Not only that, but there are seemingly countless visual shout-outs to classic horror movies that any real horror buff will just eat up. Similarly, why the film isn’t especially suspenseful, Williamson and Craven did a superb job of keeping me on my toes about who the killers actually were (though I knew who one was about half-way through and figured the other one out a couple beats before I was supposed to as well). It’s a testament to their writing skills that I was actually convinced the killer could have been any of our returning survivors.

Besides the film not being remotely scary, the movie also suffered in that the new group of high-schoolers wasn’t remotely as memorable as the first group. Jamie Kennedy, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, and Neve Campbell are such an iconic group of kids now that even understanding that their shoes would be incredibly hard to fill, this new batch just didn’t have that group’s natural chemistry. With the exception of Emma Roberts (who has really grown up since her Nickelodeon days and gives a fantastic performance in this movie), none of the other kids had any sort of star power. Even Hayden Panatierre, who is an actual TV star/rising movie starlet, gave an incredibly phoned-in performance this go around (although I always thought Claire was the worst part of Heroes). One of the great aspects of the original film was how real and authentic its characters felt. Scream 4 does not have the same sense of familiarity.

I just can’t believe I’ve devoted so many words to reviewing a movie that I’m only going to give a “B”. That’s the paradox of this film though. It’s surprisingly more complex and introspective than anything else on the horror market, but in that crucial area of actual genre execution, it unfortunately falters. For fans of the franchise, there is absolutely no question as to whether you should watch this because it scratches that itch for 90’s style slasher flicks that you had forgotten you missed. Simultaneously, it nails almost all of the aspects about the original films that you loved (except for the actual suspense and scares). When the rest of the horror market is another brain-dead and lifeless sequel, something this fun and this smart can’t be missed by anyone with the slightest respect for the genre. While it doesn’t disprove the notion that horror sequels are never as good as the original, it is easily one of the only fourth entries in a  film series that is actually good and not completely awful.

What’s your favorite scary movie?

Final Score: B